Wilted kale is the simplest and most delicious way of getting that highly nutritious green into your diet. Sautéed kale is an easy side dish that is perfect with spicy curries, stews and casseroles. The garlic and salted butter add wonderful depths to the kale, and it is almost too easy to even call it a recipe.
But anyway, here I will tell you how to cook kale in just 3 minutes - with just 3 ingredients! And did you know kale has major health benefits as well? This is almost too good to be true, but I'll tell you all about it below.
Nutrition profile: The health benefits of kale
Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious-dense foods on earth. It's a member of the cabbage family, which makes sense as I don't think it works that great as a green in salads (wilted kale salad is a different story!). Kale is a little rough, bitter and hard on its own and that is why we are wilting it! - but it is SO HEALTHY.
Kale is high in vitamin A, K, C (more than an orange!), B1, B2, B3, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. And 1 cup of kale is just a mere 33 calories! Doesn't it just sound way too good to be true? It's the Miss Universe of foods.
It is also high in antioxidants, which are good for the heart, blood pressure, they're anti-inflammatory - and guess what - even anti-depressant and anti-cancer! Kale can help lower cholesterol, which then reduces the risk for heart diseases. Here's a little breakdown of some of its nutrients:
- Vitamin C - necessary for the synthesis of collagen in the body
- Vitamin K - critical for blood clotting and kale is one of the best sources of vit K!
- Bile acid sequestrants - lowers cholesterol by preventing reabsorption of bile acids (and this is even better when you steam the kale - bonus!)
- Sulforaphane - help fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level
- Beta-Carotene - turns into vitamin A, essential for healthy vision, teeth, skeletal tissue and skin
- Calcium - great for your bone health
- Magnesium - prevents type 2 diabetes and good for heart health
- Potassium - reduced blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease
- Lutein and zeaxanthin - powerful nutrients that protect your eyes
- Low calorie - great for weight loss
To learn more about the health benefits of this glorious green, read this article.
What is 'wilted kale'?
And what exactly is 'wilted kale'? you may ask.
Wilted kale is cooked or steamed kale, also known as sautéed kale, so it's drastically reduced in size and is much more soft. You know you can add a ton of spinach to a casserole or a curry, and it looks way too much but suddenly it turned into about nothing? That is wilted spinach. The same goes for kale, only that it keeps its shape a little better.
When spinach almost turns into a mush, kale still looks like kale, but wilted kale is miiiiles better than raw kale. And considering it better reduces cholesterol once it's steamed - it doesn't hurt to add a little butter for flavor, right? The butter adds a wonderfully nice touch to the kale, but you can omit it if you really want to keep it super duper healthy. But I'm pro flavor!
What to eat with garlic butter wilted kale
Anywhere you normally use wilted spinach, wilted kale can work too. But wilted kale can also substitute fresh spinach, such as a wilted kale salad. You can use wilted kale in this lemon chicken winter salad, instead of the fresh spinach. Same goes for this lemon chicken with spring greens and healthy halloumi quinoa salad. Again, instead of the wilted spinach in this vegan ginger lentil curry, you can serve wilted kale next to it. Easy winter comfort food!
A new favorite combination of mine is this sriracha honey glazed pork, this garlic kale and fried potatoes! Since kale is so versatile, I also add it as something green with my pumpkin gnocchi or even orange pepper roasted chicken.
For Thanksgiving, it would be amazing as an extra healthy side dish with your Citrus Rosemary Turkey. You could also serve it alongside other comfort dinners such as parmesan pumpkin pasta and spaghetti bolognese. Rice and beans stuffed bell peppers could also benefit from a little healthy green on the side. I also tried it with a West African Peanut Stew and it was so delicious. I'm still working on that recipe, so stay tuned for that.
How to cook kale
Cooking kale is so simple!
I usually go for pre-chopped kale in a bag. It's convenient and things go even faster. There's no problem in cutting it yourself either. You can even use the stems, although I would cut them in smaller bite sized pieces. The stem will naturally be a little harder than the leaves, so you can leave them out if you wish too.
Add a little water, butter and one grated garlic clove to a large saucepan or casserole, on medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the chopped kale. Mix to cover the kale with the butter and then cover the pan. Let it steam for about 3 minutes, or until it looks wilted. Stir one more time to completely cover the kale with garlic butter!
Serve immediately with some of my tips in the above paragraph and even some more side dishes below. Enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here's more quick and easy side dishes:
- Easy Garlic Parmesan Green Beans
- Savory Herb Sweet Potato Mash
- Honey Balsamic Baked Brussels Sprouts
- Zesty Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Fresh and Spicy Guacamole
- Mexican Fried Rice with Chipotle and Turmeric
- Indian Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice)
- Pan-Fried Crispy Brussels Sprouts
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